A Peshmerga fighter firing machine gun in clashes with ISIS in the Yezidi region in northern Iraq. File photo
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ERBIL – Subsequent to the failure of the Shiite Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) to recapture al-Bashir village from the radical group of Islamic State (ISIS), the Kurdish Peshmerga forces began a major military operation against ISIS to free the key village south of Kirkuk, in northern Iraq, local sources reported on Sunday.
The Peshmerga-led operation came after weeks of the PMF failed attempts to advance in al-Bashir village and its surroundings, despite heavy artillery bombardment and rocket launchers on ISIS headquarters by Iraqi army in the area.
Speaking to ARA News in Kirkuk, media activist Samir al-Ameri said that the clashes continue in the villages of al-Mazraa and al-Bu Mifrij in the vicinity of the key village of al-Bashir, amid airstrikes by the US-led coalition forces on ISIS locations in the area.
“The Peshmerga forces, backed by the PMF and the US-led coalition forces, launched a mjor military operation on the terror group’s strongholds in al-Bashir village and its surroundings from several sides,” al-Ameri reported.
“We have pounded ISIS strongholds in the areas of Mazraat al-Dawla, Tel Ahmed, and the highway leading to al-Bashir village,” a Kurdish commander told ARA News, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
“We have caused the group heavy losses in manpower and equipment,” he said, arguing “We will soon take over the region and expel the terrorists [ISIS].”
The source pointed out that the Abbas Squad and the Imam Ali Squad [both members of the PMF] will be responsible for securing the Mazraat al-Dawla area, while the Kurdish Peshmerga forces will bear the responsibility of securing the Tel Ahmed district and then liberate the al-Bashir village from ISIS, while the third part [highway leading to al-Bashir] is left for the Turkmen Mobilization forces.
Clashes continue on the outskirts of al-Bashir village near al-Mazraa and al-Bu Mifrij areas where ISIS militants strive to push back the Peshmerga and allied forces from the region, according to local sources.
Reporting by: Sarbaz Yousef
Source: ARA News